"Lineage", 2017 / Wood, fabric & natural fibers
I am the son of
My Mother, and
She is the Daughter of
Clay soil and
She carried Me
All of Her life
She was ready.
Scientifically, when a person is born with ovaries, they are born with all of the eggs they will ever have in their life – they do not generate more later on as they develop. So in a way, when someone is pregnant, they potentially hold not only the next generation, but the one after as well.
Many cultures around the world are matriarchies – the idea and practice of a family, society, community, or state governed by women. With this work, I was curious about how families are connected to each other and the land itself, within that context. I was inspired by an old black and white photo of Chamoru women rubbing coconut oil in each others’ hair, taken on Guåhan in the early 1900s.
I questioned how tradition(s), (hi)stories, and experiences are passed down from generation to the next. We inherit so much from the moment we come into being. And in the case of intergenerational trauma, how do we heal, collectively and as individuals?
Roquin-Jon Quichocho Siongco / Chamoru
"I come from flowers and laughter: Chinalek", 2017 / Mixed media
I am a femme who loves flowers, because I believe one day I will become one. My adoration for flowers stems from my mother and grandmother. I grew up praying the rosary with my grandmother and mother. They repeated prayers like ancestral chants. And at the center of the prayer was the statue of Mary, Our Lady of Fatima. My mother would tell me as a child that the statue could feel the pain and joy of the world, so she made sure that flowers were always surrounding the statue of Mary. My mother’s favorite flowers are carnations. “Flowers bring joy,” she said.
The native Chamoru word for flower is “chinalek,” which also translates to laughter. I asked my father and his brother, “What kind of flowers did Nana Ana love?” My uncle replied with the widest smile and a loud laugh, “She loved orchids. You know (laughs) she used to talk and sing to her flowers and plants all the time!” When I care for flowers, I imagine my Nana Ana giggling, gently touching and humming to her beloved floral friends.
The flowers you see in the space, pouring down from the ceiling, are dedicated to each matriarch in my life. I dedicate each flower to my ancestors, to our indigenous, black and brown transcestors, to indigenous resistance, to my femme, trans, queer, two spirit, nonbinary, gender nonconforming siblings, to my mother, to my grandmothers, to my sisters, to my child, to myself. Each flower is dedicated to indigenous, black and brown resilience and healing. Touch them. Feel them. Sing to them like my grandmother did. I hope they bring you joy, remembrance, and laughter.
Selena Velasco / Chamoru
Lilian Ongelungel / Palauan
Lilian is a Palauan-American artist and cultural worker from Portland, Oregon. She has dedicated over ten years to empowering Pacific Islander communities in the Pacific Northwest. While her artistic roots are grounded in painting and illustration, she has also uses writing and storytelling as vehicles for exploring the intersections of Pacific Islander diaspora, queer identity and matrilineal legacy in her works. Her work in Visions of Pasifika focuses on intentions and aspirations for Pasifika people into the following generations. Outside of artwork, Lilian also serves her Pacific Islander community as an executive board member for the Portland chapter of United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance (UTOPIA PDX), an organization that provides sacred spaces to strengthen the minds and bodies of QTPIs – Queer and Trans Pacific Islanders – through community organizing, political engagement, and cultural stewardship.
Kalei'okalani (Rayann Onzuka) was born and raised in Wai'anae, O'ahu and began dancing at six years old with Lokelani Polynesian Revue in Nanakuli. After her 'uniki, Kalei continued training with Polynesian Dance Troupe Ma'ohi Nui, performing professionally in shows across O'ahu and on tour in Japan as well as competing in island-wide Heiva. She also trained with the Kamehameha Schools Kapalama Campus Hawaiian Ensemble. From her move to Washington in 2009 until 2016, Kalei taught originally choreographed Tahitian, hula, and Samoan dances at Seattle University for the Hui 'O Nani Hawai'i club. In 2016, she began teaching hula as a part of Arts Corps, an organization providing equal opportunity for creative programs in schools with children of predominantly low-income communities of color, engaging them in conversations and practice of community, identity, and racial equality. She also taught with Families of Color Seattle (FOCS) as a part of the FOCSarts program, providing multi-cultural arts classes for toddlers. With Huraiti Mana, she opens her independent teachings to students of all ages, learning from each and instilling in each significant values of the Polynesian cultures. Kalei aspires to continue teaching, studying, and sharing the love of her people.
Originally a weaver from Yigo, Guåhan, Roquin and his family relocated to Washington State when they were 10. No longer having access to hågon (leaves) and palms, they explored and expressed themselves through other mediums. Today, Roquin is still exploring and (re)discovering while pursuing a dual degree in anthropology and botany at The Evergreen State College. They want to return to Guåhan to farm sustainably with communities there.
Who I come from. I come from my mother’s mother’s mother. I come from powerful matriarchs: my mother Barbara Tenorio Uncangco, Nana Ana Manibusan Respicio, and Nana Lourdes Tenorio Uncangco. I share their names, because they are the ancestors that are always with me.
Who I am becoming. The constellations of my existence are like the reflected starlit seas my ancestors navigated. The intersections of my artistry are rooted in being a queer femme, Chamoru mother, visual artist, and a child of mother Guåhan. I write poetry as a love letter to my Chamoru ancestors, in particular the womxn and femmes I come from - proud matriarchs. My artistic process is to write, then create visualizations of poetry by collaging flowers to honor my healing journey.
Community Sponsors and PartnersVisions of Pasifika: Light from Another World
is made possible by the support of community partners and the generosity of our donors and sponsors.
The Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation
Seattle People's Fund